Hope will get you through it

Written by: Vivian Wilson

Life is a series of learning experiences starting from the day we are born. Much of what we learn early in life is necessary for living.

First we learn to turn over, then crawl, walk, and run. We learn to talk and feed ourselves and dress ourselves, to name a few. But then there are things that we choose to learn, such as another language, how to paint, how to dance, how to play an instrument or a sport. The things that we choose to learn require a teacher or a coach, someone skilled and knowledgeable about the subject. Someone who knows and is able to communicate the essential information in order for us to acquire some level of proficiency in the craft or skill that we want to learn.

It is also true that there are things that we all need to learn in our spiritual lives as well. Some things we can choose to learn. For example, how to study God’s Word better, or how to pray more effectively, or memorize scripture more efficiently.

But there are also things that we need to learn that we are not even aware of until God puts His finger on those places in our heart that He desires to change.

God wants us to love Him because He loves us so much, He wants us to know Him, He is shaping and molding us into the image of His Son. He has given each of us our own personal trainer and instructor in the person of the Holy Spirit.

It is our responsibility to trust that He knows every detail that will accomplish His goal, to be obedient, and diligent to follow His instructions, surrendering my will and all that I am.

In his book, James tells us in chapter one, verses 2-4:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Clearly, one of the ways God shapes us is through trials. We will all face them, they are inescapable and they are designed for each of us in order to make us mature in our faith. When we surrender to our Instructor and allow Him to teach us to love better, to forgive, to humble ourselves, to serve, to give, to encourage, to help, to bless others, we will grow in our maturity as children of God.

If I may, here is a thought about surrender. It is a temptation at times when in the middle of difficult circumstances, to resign ourselves to the way things are, thinking that we are surrendering our will. But resignation says, “you are without hope, you are powerless, you have no choice.” However, surrender is an act of the will to make a choice and to quit striving and rest in the arms of our Heavenly Father, and allow Him to do His work in you, while drawing you closer to Himself.

When the trial we face is a very difficult one or not, it is good to focus on the hope that we have in Christ rather than the present pain or hardship we are experiencing.

Hope will allow us to see the end of the trial even in the midst of it.

James 1:12:  Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Romans 15:13:  May the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

No, my sisters, trials are not pleasant, but in them I want to learn to be joyful and grateful, looking beyond the present with hope of having new skills and knowledge with which to serve God and others better when He has finished His work.

What do you think God wants to teach you?

Have you surrendered to Him?

Are you focused on your circumstances or the hope you have in Christ?

with you, a work in progress,

Vivian